Burger van man guilty of illegal tobacco sales

Roy Grenfell of Close Hill, Redruth pleaded guilty at Truro Magistrates Court on 21 June 2017 to the supply of illegal tobacco products in the Pool area of Cornwall.

Grenfell, 67, had at the time of the offence been working in a burger van situated in Camborne Retail Park, Pool where, as a side line to selling burgers, he was also supplying illegal tobacco.

Cornwall Council Trading Standards Officers received information about Grenfell’s illegal business and undertook a test purchase which led to further investigation.  When Grenfell’s home was searched, a total of 298 pouches of hand rolling tobacco and a substantial amount of cash was recovered.

Grenfell pleaded guilty to a total of 6 charges and was ordered to pay fines, a victim surcharge and a forfeiture order totalling over £27,000

Cornwall Council Cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection Sue James said: “The low prices that illegal tobacco is sold for and the lack of any age checks being carried out by the sellers makes it easier for children to smoke. Illegal tobacco jeopardises our health and the health of the economy and it is really important that our Trading Standards officers continue to bring cases such as these before the courts”

Gareth Walsh, Public Health Practitioner for Cornwall Council and Tobacco Control lead said:  “The illegal tobacco work of Trading Standards is not only important in tackling crime but is also an important part of tobacco control in the county. Nearly 1 in 3 people (32%) from a Routine & Manual background still smoke in Cornwall, and smoking is still the single biggest preventable cause of death in the UK with 1,000 people dying because of smoking.  Illegal tobacco is sold at prices much cheaper than the duty-paid price of legally sold tobacco. Not only does this lessen the cost-motivation of smokers to quit, but also is often sold at ‘pocket money prices’ and is a cheap source for children and young people to smoke.”

Elizabeth Kirk, Cornwall Council Senior Trading Standards Officer said “We are very pleased with the results of our case against Mr Grenfell.  We believe it sends a clear message to those who trade in illegal tobacco products that this criminal activity, which undermines legitimate businesses and the attempts of many people to quit smoking, will not be tolerated”